Authorities describe the suspect in a Union Township shooting and gun battle with Wilmington Township police as a troubled man who believed that he was seeing ghosts.
Police say 40-year-old William Frazier, of New Castle, was the man who shot a utility worker and was behind the wheel of a car that police were pursuing when he turned and opened fire on officers.
Frazier’s father lives on Winter Road in Union Township, not far from where a utility worker was shot around 1 p.m. Thursday.
Police believe that Frazier shot that worker, as several witnesses reported seeing a yellow Dodge Neon leave the scene of the Unity Township shooting. Police say Frazier was later found driving a vehicle matching that description.
Authorities say Frazier believed that people were eavesdropping on him through the utility company.
After Comcast Xfinity worker Arlen Blank was hit in the arm by gunfire from the drive-by shooting, authorities say Frazier drove to New Wilmington, where he made statements to a man that the Amish were evil and were killing all of the Christians.
Frazier was in the heart of Amish country when he made the statements.
The man reported the strange statements to police in New Wilmington.
At that time, police in the area weren’t aware of the shooting in Union Township.
An officer tried stopping Frazier’s yellow Dodge Neon on Route 208 but police reported that he began firing at officers through the back window of the vehicle. Police say he then got out of the car and ran behind a wooden shed on the side of the road where he was ordered to drop his gun.
Police say Frazier ignored their commands and came out from behind the shed with a gun in hand and came towards them “in a threatening manner.” Frazier was shot and died later at the hospital.
Police reported that Frazier had guns in his vehicle as well as armor-piercing ammunition. He’s on disability and isn’t eligible to have weapons, so police are investigating how he was able to obtain them.
Frazier is no stranger to trouble with the law.
According to the Lawrence County Jail, he has been incarcerated 14 times since 1997 on charges such as theft and making terroristic threats. He has also been jailed in Mahoning County.
According to Unity Township police, family members said Frazier was suffering from a mental illness and was not taking his prescribed medication. They added that he did have access to firearms and had recently been making comments like, “The world was coming to an end today, or I am”.
“There were some mental health issues going on, some paranoia. He was acting irrational,” said Pennsylvania State Police Lt. Eric Hermick. “His family’s indicated there were some issues going on. He started making comments about society and the government.”
Troopers say they will wrap up their investigation soon and then turn over their evidence, including their dash camera video to the Lawrence County District Attorney for review.